Thursday, April 14, 2016

Visible thinking for adults


One of the techniques I use in the workshops I facilitate is a visible thinking routine.

At the beginning of a workshop I pose three questions to which participants need to respond ...

What do you know about (topic)?
What are your concerns about (topic)?
What do you think are your biggest challenges regarding (topic)?

The questions are placed on paper to hang on the wall, participants write their responses on post it notes and place on the appropriate paper.

The papers at the beginning of the workshop

I use the responses as a diagnostic tool to see how the participants understandings are and how they are feeling about the topic. It identifies the issues that need to be addressed over the workshop to ensure I am meeting the needs of the participants.


At the end of each session, I request that the participants go back to their responses and see if the challenges and concerns have now become understandings. If this is the case, they move their post-it note to the understanding paper.  By the end of the workshop, most of the notes have been moved. Some challenges cannot be solved at a workshop level as it is at an individual school level and context.

The papers at the end of the conference

It is a simple reflection tool for the participants to see how their learning is developing over the workshop, and it is good for me to see how successful I am in addressing their concerns.

Although my workshops last from one to three days, this routine could be used through a unit of work at any age level maybe change the language of the questions to make them more age appropriate.

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